Gutted is not the word. Gutted is not the word. ‘The Rat and Parrot’ in Hackney had been filling up since nine pm, a fake Victorian gaff, but cosy it is, and it was bursting when the chimes went for ten. There was every sort of Labour here, and everyone gets on. The old lags were out in the garden smoking, wrapped up in their fleeces everyone else was in the main bar round the big screen when Huw Edwards came on with the Exit Poll, and bloody hell. Bloody hell. Three hundred and sixty eight seats. Labour down below two hundred. There was a silence. Then there was a collective bellow of pain. They say that happens in train crashes and such. Below two hundred, nah, people didn’t believe that. ‘It’s not right, it’s not right’ a tall bloke yelled over our heads, officer type. But everyone knew it was. The results were already confirming it. Sodding Sunderland South was closer than it should have been. Blyth Valley went. Mining. Welsh. Fuck it. Xxx xxxxxx. Fuck it.
No-one in Hackney and Stokers [Stoke Newington – RH] thought we were heading for a majority. But sodding two hundred. This was Stokers and Hackney so there was no reaming out of Corbyn. But no shortage of theories either, starting with the fucking BBC. The fucking BBC. Who could give a shit about Murdoch when all the lies were coming from the BBC, a megaphone for the metropolitans now. When Laura Kuennsberg came on the screen people yelled her name part of it anyway and with a hard ending. Second theory, yeah Jez. With Stokers nailed we were sent to Watford every morning. They didn’t hate Jez, but they didn’t love him. Even those that had loved him in 2017. ‘I don’t know what he stands for anymore’ they’d say. I’m standing there with a fucking handful of leaflets about everything he’s stood for for forty years but you’ve got to be nice. They were right too. The second referendum thing? The best, most democratic approach to Brexit and the worst politics, absolutely.
The lightweights melted away before closing. So did the old guard. That wasn’t funny. ‘I’ll see one more election if I’m lucky’ said Fred. He’s got a face like the proverbial gammon, but he was a Bennite in the 70s. Tears in his eyes. He got a pass. Experienced Labour masochists stayed. There wasn’t one good thing to hang onto. Boris didn’t lose his seat, neither did Dominic Raab. A few of us got a thrill seeing Zac Goldsmith’s stupid grinning face up on stage in xxxx as he got smashed in xxxx. Then someone said ‘He’s the only Tory who believes in climate change’. True. STFU though. Stragglers left seven in the morning slipping the keys back under the door. Breakfast? No. Home to throw up and sleep. For five years.